What They Say:
In the wake of the blistering practice match against the Nekoma High School team, the Karasuno High School volleyball squad digs in and vows to bring their game up another level. Prior to the arrival of the new freshmen, the general belief was that Karasuno’s day in the sun was over, but while the ongoing rivalry between Hinata and Kageyama has inspired everyone to push themselves even further, there’s still a lot of friction that’s ultimately slowing down their game.
It’s not until the announcement of the brackets for the Inter-School tourney are announced that the reality of what they are attempting to do finally takes hold. As talented as each of the team members may be individually, they have no chance of winning unless they can finally come together as a seamless unit. Can Hinata and Kageyama put their battle for dominance on hold long enough to take on the overwhelming brilliance of the Aoba Johsai squad?
The only language option for this DVD set is Japanese 2.0. English subtitles are provided for non-native speakers, and as is always the case with sub-only titles, I spend more time concentrating on what I’m seeing to really get a good fix on what I’m hearing, so, to me, this sounded just fine, but to others with eagle-ears, there might be issues.
Each episode is presented in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen and they look quite good. The picture quality was crisp and clear with no discernable issues.
Haikyu!! Collection 2 is spread over two discs housed in a standard DVD case. The discs are housed in the front and back covers, respectively. Disc one is stamped with the image of Asahi, and disc two with Kei.
The front cover also features Asahi and Kei, along with Tanaka and Tadashi. A ball flies at them from the upper-right and the boys are all lined up in various action poses, ready to receive. The spine features Hinata just after he spiked a ball. The back follows the standard format with the story synopsis taking up the majority of real estate. It’s flanked by various characters from the show and screenshots. Beneath it lies the cast and crew credits and DVD specifications.
Overall, it’s a good design, but it doesn’t exactly stand out from any other DVD on the shelf.
Both menus follow the same format as the previous collection. The episode list and special feature options reside on the left-hand side of the screen while an action shot of one or more of the characters take up the right-hand side of the screen. The show’s main theme plays in full in the background, which is much better than the five-to-ten second loops that most menus provide; although I do miss the original theme song. I really enjoyed it.
Like the previous collection, Haikyu skimps on the special features, only offering clean Op/Ed and trailers for other Sentai shows. I didn’t really mind, but fans of DVD extras will be disappointed.
Although the team possesses raw talent, there are plenty of rough edges that need to be sanded. Hinata and Kageyama have reached an uneasy alliance—working together because they find that they’re greater together than apart, but still possessing an almost cellular antipathy towards each other. However, their talent and their friction have energized the rest of Karasuno High School’s volleyball team, and they’ll need this energy as they enter the Inter-School Volleyball Tourney. If they succeed, they will take their first step onto the road of glory, but there is stiff competition standing in their way, and raw talent can only take a person or a group so far.
Although Hinata and Kageyama ostensibly stand as the protagonists of the series, the team (the “flightless ravens”) becomes the true star. Much like the sport it portrays, Haikyu!! is a team effort. Some parts may be stronger, taller, quicker than the others, but each functions as part of a greater whole. There’s no hotdogging, and no grandstanding, and one of the elements of this second collection that I really enjoyed was seeing how every member played a role and had something tangible to offer the team. The show actually presents two excellent lessons. First, that raw talent can only take a person so far. Strategy and teamwork count just as much, and second, that sometimes our best efforts just aren’t enough.
Although Karasuno won a huge victory over the Dateko’s “Iron Wall,” they pulled the hardest opponent in their region for their second round. Aoba Johsai is the school to beat. Although it possesses a fantastic setter, Tōru Oikawa, the entire team is a spiking and returning engine. Karasuno throws everything at them. Every trick, every maneuver, everything. But it’s not enough. Although secondary characters like Sugawara get a chance to show off their skills, the flightless ravens were no match for the superior Aoba Johsai.
And that’s exactly how it should be. If Karasuno won every match, then their victories would become hollow. This is a bildungsroman just as much as it is a sports story, only the “coming of age” story here involves the entire team and not just the dual protagonists. The team possesses talent, and that talent takes them farther than anyone thought they would, but untempered talent only takes one so far. It must be paired with intelligence and strategy to be fully effective. Karasuno learns this, and instead of allowing themselves to be beaten down, they redouble their efforts with a new goal in mind: the Spring tournament.
Haikyu!! does so many things well. It presents believable and engaging characters, it provides some of the best sports action I’ve ever seen in an anime, and it understands that victory without hardship means nothing. It’s emotional, powerful, fluid and kinetic, and it completely sucks you in.
Haikyu!! Collection Two has it all: the high of victory, the crushing agony of defeat, characters that you genuinely care about, and plenty of sports action that appeals to even sports-ambivalent nerds like myself. If you’re looking for a good character drama with lots of heart, Haikyu!! is the anime for you. Dr. Josh gives this an….
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 11th, 2015
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Panasonic Viera TH42PX50U 42” Plasma HDTV, Sony BPD-S3050 BluRay Player w/HDMI Connection